Law Professor’s Desk Reference

A Handbook for Work and Life in the Legal Academy

by Jon M. Garon


Legal education is undergoing a fundamental reconceptualization, fueled by external social and economic pressures and legal education’s regulatory changes. Law school faculty members are expected to be legal scholars, effective teachers, and engaged institutional partners, but the information essential to develop these fundamentals skills and acquire the core knowledge has not been published in one single source, until now.

Law Professor’s Desk Reference serves as a how-to guide for faculty members, most of whom are hungry for training on their role in the legal academy. The book is organized into four sections. The first three sections are teaching, scholarship, and service – reflecting the three core areas of faculty assessment and university organization. The fourth section focuses on the regulation of legal education, an area of increasing importance for individual faculty.

Part I provides a foundation for student learning and effective teaching and encourage faculty to use the best practices for student learning and engagement. It provides an important summary of learning outcomes, formative assessment, summative assessment, and the operational mechanics needed to be an effective classroom teacher. It provides strategies for teaching in various modalities, including face-to-face instruction, online courses, and blended education.

Part II offers faculty members a roadmap to develop meaningful scholarship to help the professor make a different in their scholarly field and their law school. It reviews the debate over legal scholarship, emphasizing the practical needs for scholarship as well as providing guidance on the mechanics of scholarly production.

Part III explores the role that faculty play in shared governance of their institutions, academic freedom, hiring, tenure, and similar issues that shape the faculty at every law school. It provides something of a user manual for faculty, helping to explain the often mysterious choices made by university and law school administrations. Among these guides, the chapter on hiring and promotion offers a clear set of explanations on how hiring committees must operate to avoid violating state and federal discrimination laws.  

Part IV concludes the reference guide with an introduction to the regulatory environment in which law schools operate. These include accreditation, statutes, and Department of Education regulations on accessibility and accommodations, compliance with Title IX, as well as employment basics on issues such as work-for-hire, plagiarism, and the teaching contract terms.

Each chapter provides explanations, legal context, and policy discussions that help illustrate and explore the particular concepts and how those concepts apply across legal education.